Monday, March 26, 2012

Exhibitors accused of doping can participate in Colo. State Fair

Two siblings, whose prize-winning goats were disqualified at the 2011 Colorado State Fair after testing positive for a banned growth stimulant, can participate in the competition this year, state fair general manager Chris Wiseman ruled Thursday.

Ben Weinroth, a minor, can compete "pursuant to his status as a member in good standing with the Colorado 4-H," Wiseman said in a statement. Ben's 19-year-old sister, Maggie, also was reinstated - though she's now too old to participate in the fair's junior competition, Wiseman added.

What led to the doping of goats 501 and 507, however, remains a whodunit.
Ben's goat won first place in the lightweight division, and Maggie's animal was named grand champion at the fair's junior livestock auction in August. But in October, the state announced that the siblings' goats had tested positive for ractopamine, a drug that promotes muscle growth.

Disqualification meant Maggie wouldn't get the $5,500 her goat netted at the state fair auction, and Ben wouldn't get the $1,300 sale price for his goat. Both were barred from future livestock events at the fair.

The Weinroth family appealed, insisting the goats' feed may have been tampered with the first night of the fair. Sue Weinroth, the siblings' mother, said the goats got sick after eating the feed and that the fair veterinarian was called twice to care for the animals. She said her children's names were cleared after mediation with fair officials - but that they were stunned as news of the doping scandal spread around the world.

The fair's decision will help her daughter, an animal science major at Colorado State University. She had feared it would hurt her career plans to specialize in food safety.

Wiseman refused to elaborate on the reversal - or other aspects of the case. He has said the ban could be lifted if officials determined someone else was responsible for the food additive - though the goat sale proceeds would still be forfeited.

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